pa·​nache | \ pə-ˈnash How to pronounce panache (audio) , -ˈnäsh How to pronounce panache (audio) \

Definition of panache

1 : an ornamental tuft (as of feathers) especially on a helmet The palace guard had a panache on his helmet.
2 : dash or flamboyance in style and action : verve flashed his … smile and waved with the panache of a big-city mayor— Joe Morgenstern

Illustration of panache

Illustration of panache

panache 1

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Few can match the panache of French poet and soldier Cyrano de Bergerac. In his dying moments, he declared that the one thing left to him was his panache, and that assertion at once demonstrates the meaning of the word and draws upon its history. Panache derives via Middle French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing" or "gable," a root that also gave English the word pinnacle. In both French and English, panache originally referred to a showy, feathery plume on a hat or helmet; its "dashing" figurative sense developed from the verve and swagger of one bold enough to wear such an adornment in public. When the dying Cyrano turned his huge nose heavenward and spoke of his panache, his nose became the literal and figurative pinnacle of a multifaceted pun.

Examples of panache in a Sentence

She played the role of hostess with great panache.
Recent Examples on the Web Bri added panache to the master bedroom with inexpensive framed art (two copies of the same digital download) and a bedside sconce that is simply a wood base looped with a bare bulb on a cord. Sarah Halverson, Better Homes & Gardens, "This Small Condo Trades Square Footage for a Spacious Backyard and Proximity to the Coast," 4 May 2021 The small band of strings under Sorrell was plenty lively, but Choo was a dynamo, often driving the tempo and always delivering lines with panache. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Apollo’s Fire rewards in-person audience with resplendent Bach on live season finale," 22 Apr. 2021 Viareggio’s boats quickly earned a reputation for panache, full of a certain swagger that the more formal yards of Northern Europe could never quite match, though perhaps not as reliably engineered as their German and Dutch rivals. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, "How This Unassuming Tuscan Town Became the Epicenter of the Superyacht World," 11 Apr. 2021 Female power is best seen when it’s a physical force, a whirling and physically improbable high kick delivered with panache along with a sharp quip. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, "The Nevers Is an Unimpressive Monument to Joss Whedon’s Obsessions," 9 Apr. 2021 Review: ‘Held’ lacks the cleverness and panache to land a stinging social satire ‘Slalom’ Not rated. Los Angeles Times, "New movies for the weekend: ‘Moffie,’ ‘Held’ and more," 9 Apr. 2021 Grimaud played with panache — sometimes at the cost of overpowering strings — and generous expressivity. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Review: Impassioned Schumann from Fabio Luisi, Hélène Grimaud and the Dallas Symphony," 2 Apr. 2021 With characteristic panache, the first Christians twisted the term for their own purposes. Robert Barron, WSJ, "Recovering the Strangeness of Easter," 2 Apr. 2021 However bare its aesthetics, qomp channels the design panache of something like Super Mario 64 or any other great Nintendo game through its simple but always-evolving gameplay mechanic that’s constantly surprising the player. Vincent Acovino, Wired, "Qomp Makes a Case for Shorter, Simpler Video Games," 2 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'panache.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of panache

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for panache

Middle French pennache, from Old Italian pennacchio, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing — more at pinnacle

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about panache

Time Traveler for panache

Time Traveler

The first known use of panache was in 1553

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about panache

Statistics for panache

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Panache.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for panache



English Language Learners Definition of panache

: lots of energy and style

Comments on panache

What made you want to look up panache? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!